Saxophonist Mike Phillips to cap pop-up jazz series test run at The Guest House


by Karanja A. Ajanaku

Ask Tremayne Thompson of TK Productions about saxophonist Mike Phillips, and he starts by describing “such a cross-cultured guy.”

“From hip hop to R&B to jazz, playing with Prince, Stevie Wonder as one of their main musicians and MD (musical director), he is an explosive guy (and multi-instrumentalist as well). He always has a show,” Thompson said.

Memphis songbird Stefanie Bolton opens for Mike Phillips at The Guest House on Sept. 27.
(Courtesy photo)

With an opening assist from Memphis stellar vocalist Stefanie Bolton, Phillips will complete the Perfect Note Memphis Intimate Jazz Pop-Up series at The Guest House at Graceland Friday night (Sept. 7). He is the third performer in a trio of artists (saxophonist Eric Darius, guitarist Nick Colionne) helping Thompson and Hoover-Ala.-based TK Productions, Inc., test the local market for ongoing intimate jazz performances.

The first non-athlete sponsored by the Jordan Brand, Phillips’ sax style has been described as “soulful yet funky.”

“We are on the last leg (for 2018) and the fresh beginning of a monthly series for 2019,” Thompson said. “We’ve done plenty of shows with Mike Phillips. …He transcends all generations. That’s what makes him such an exciting artist.”

The Memphis market has been embracing to the Perfect Note concept, said Thompson, who steers TK Productions with his wife, Karen.

“I think they want to see more of it and we are going to give it to them,” Thompson said. “To keep music alive for one and then (provide a setting) for grown folks to come out – and those getting ready to come out of the clubs as well – to enjoy great music. I think we have that brand now to be able to continue.”

In the planning stages now is a 2019 monthly series beginning in March.

“By December you will know kind of our line-up and what we are getting ready to do to explode out of the gates. …Get ready for some explosive vocalists, some trombone, some trumpet, some keyboard players and even a vibraphonist.”

The “special touch” for the Sept. 7 show is “Memphis’ own Stephanie Bolton, who will be opening the show. It was always our thought to bring in local artists from right there in the city.”

Thompson said he asked a friend and Memphis native, “‘who is good in the city?’ The first person that came out of his mouth was Stephanie Bolton. …She will be doing an Aretha tribute as well.”

Doors open at 7:30 p.m., with Bolton set for 8:15 p.m. Phillips takes over about 8:30 p.m. “for a 90-minute, full-blast journey,” Thompson said.

The Thompsons and TK Productions, Inc. are presenting The Perfect Note Memphis Live-Music Pop-Up in conjunction with The Mid-South Gastroenterology Group, (Dr. Phillip R. Bowden), The Reaves Law Firm, (Attorney Henry Reaves), The Sims Financial Group, Inc., (Charles Sims Jr.) and The New Tri-State Defender (Dr. Karanja A. Ajanaku).

(For tickets, call 901-257-9682. Admission is $30 for general admission; $45 for VIP. For more about Perfect Note, visit